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Israeli Politicians Assess Netanyahu Address

Israeli Politicians Assess Netanyahu Address

TEL AVIV — Considering the controversy surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic address to the US Congress before he even uttered a word, it’s no surprise that Israeli politicians wasted no time Tuesday weighing in on its impact.

Opposition head Isaac Herzog, who is running against Netanyahu as leader of the Zionist Union Party in the March 17 elections, was one of the most vocal critics.

Downplaying the effectiveness of the address, he said, “There’s no doubt that Netanyahu can speak. But let’s be honest, tonight’s speech will not influence the deal or Iran’s desire for a nuclear weapon.”

The speech, which is “immensely damaging” to US-Israeli relations, will only further isolate Israel from its primary ally, the US, he said.

“No leader will tolerate a nuclear Iran,” he said while addressing residents along the Gaza border at a town hall meeting.

“Only by cooperating with the White House will we be able to prevent the nuclear threat,” he asserted.

Alon Pinkas, former consul-general in New York, agreed that Netanyahu’s rhetoric was misguided.

“The speech is not going to sway Germany, Russia, France and the UK. The fact that he seemed to influence Congress is nice, but that’s not the deciding factor. The Congress can’t influence the P5+1,” he told Channel 10.

Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Bayit Yehudi Party, however, sought to put politics aside and rally behind Netanyahu.

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